Tales From The Sole....Gay Paris!

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April 5th 2009
Published: April 14th 2009
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No time for losers cos we are the champions!!!No time for losers cos we are the champions!!!No time for losers cos we are the champions!!!

Blimey that's a bit harsh sounding.

Every time I bent down slightly I could feel a twinge in the rear of my legs. Not a great sign, but one that I put down to fatigue. Running 52 miles in the space of 7 days is bound to have some sort of impact. As we arrived into Paris on the Saturday morning, a pain in the legs wasn't exactly the ideal scenario.

On arrival into Paris, Ben, Mark and I registered for the race. I'm pleased to say there were no hiccups this time, well basically I say hiccup, what I actually mean is, we'd paid for it this time round!

I can't speak for the others but I know that I'd been really looking forward to reaching Paris. Firstly it would signify that we were almost at the end of the challenge, which by now my body was screaming out for, but also that we would be joined by friends and partners. It's not that I don't enjoy Rich and Ben's company, but when you're living in each others pockets twenty four hours a day, the chance to speak to other people seems like a real luxury!

We had been driving around Paris for a little while searching for the road name that our apartment was on. Crazy notion this, but it seems Mark and Rich thought we would just be able to drive into little old Paris and find our road.....how hard could it be?! Turns out very. Shocker that. Bet if I gave you the name of a road and told you it was somewhere in South London, you'd have no bother finding it, eh! It was at this point that either Ben or I suggested that maybe we resort to a novel idea and use a map. Listen I'm all for being a man and pushing the DIY instructions on Ikea furniture to one side, but this was bordering on the ridiculous!

Once we'd bought a map and got our bearings, we realised we were in the seedy part of town. Rows of sex shops along with blue movie cinemas and I kid you not, at 16:00 in the afternoon there were already ladies of the night parading their goods on the street. (Clearly as the sun was still out, 'Ladies of the NIGHT' doesn't translate very well into French.) It was around this area that we lost
Pit Stop One!Pit Stop One!Pit Stop One!

Getting the much needed painkillers!
Ben for a little while (just kidding.....he was gone bloody ages!) thankfully upon finding him we headed back to the apartments to wait for Caroline and Nat to arrive.

We has a really good evening catching up. It was nice to find out what others had been getting up to, it seemed like Rich, Ben, Massimo the Skoda and I had been on our own little planet for a while. That night the others asked us how we were feeling about running our third marathon and in all honesty we felt good. The pressure seemed to be off our shoulders. Having run two already and really pushing ourselves to get under 4 hours last week, Paris we'd decided was just going to be a lets get round it 'fun run'.


Oh how I lived to rue those words the following day. We said our goodbyes to our fantastic support team at the Arc De Triumph and Mark, Ben and I headed into the crowded start area. We quickly lost Mark as he was focused on trying to get a time of around 3 hours 30 minutes.

The klaxon sounded and that was it, the
Why with thesepainkillers inside me I feel like a new man, watch me go!!Why with thesepainkillers inside me I feel like a new man, watch me go!!Why with thesepainkillers inside me I feel like a new man, watch me go!!

Ow, ow, ow, ow....okay so they didn't actually make much of a difference.
moment we had been waiting for, our third and final marathon in the space of 15 days was underway.

It wasn't long before disaster struck. Almost as soon as we had started running the tendons near around both knees started to hurt. At the 3km marker, I had to stop and change over my knee brace from my left to my right knee as the twinge was getting worse. By 4kms, my worst fears were being realised. Ever since I was forced to run the last 15kms of the first marathon with an injured knee, I had feared what would happen if it went again. Last week in Bratislava, it had come good and I think adrenaline had a part to play in that. This week wasn't to be so kind and I was now having to face up to the fact that only we still had another 38kms to complete. As always I let Ben know what was going on, and I think he was every bit as anguished as I was. Luckily he had his phone on him and managed to call ahead to Rich and the girls. We caught up with them about 12kms into the run. There was little they could really do but give us morale support, well that and a couple of painkillers!

The pain was proving to be a bit on the unbearable side. I could run about a kilometre before the pain became overwhelming. At which point I would have to yell at Ben that we needed to walk for a bit. Much like in the first marathon, I was so angry with myself. I had an idea of how I wanted to see this challenge out and this run then walk affair was far from it. As usual, Ben excelled in the motivational stakes and managed to keep us going, even at times when I'm sure he could see how much I was wincing.

We were making very slow, but at least steady progress and as we passed each kilometer marker I became a little happier. Near the end of the run we heard a voice behind us say "C'mon boys, you're letting the whole of England down!" Presumably in response to the fact that we were walking. I thought Ben managed to restrain himself pretty well from hurling abuse at the English fella overtaking us and politely advised him that this was our third marathon in as many weekends. It mattered not, all that mattered now was getting to that finish line....and before this big mouthed ignorant fool.

I already said to Ben that I wanted to finish this challenge how we came in, running. So he suggested that we run the last kilometre, I reminded him we were English. We would therefore run the last mile!

I hadn't actually managed to complete a mile since very early on in the race, so this took some doing....though I have to admit to having a large amount of help. Firstly I had Ben yelling at me to keep going the finish line was in sight. As we approached I caught sight of one of my oldest mates Tone screaming at the pair of us (he had made his way over to Paris on the Eurostar whilst we had been running!) with him was our ever present tour manager Rich doing likewise. Then on the final bend we saw Caroline and Nat doing the same....adrenaline took over at the sight of these guys cheering us and as we bounded across the finish line I almost forgot about
What cheesy grins!What cheesy grins!What cheesy grins!

Well balls! we're entitled to them!
the pain in my knees. Till we stopped of course and then I cried like a baby! (just kidding.....though I was feeling really emotional at that point!)

With 4hrs & 49 minutes on the clock, it had taken us almost 5 hours of pain but we had seen the 3 marathon challenge through to the bitter end.

After a bit of a rest and celebrating with the others, we all made our way back to the apartments. Mark (very happy but very tired, he clocked around 3hours 40 minutes...well done mate!) Ben and I developed our own unique walking style that day, which I can assure you probably looked a bit untoward bearing in mind the unsavoury neighbourhood we were staying in!

That night we celebrated with beers and wine, oh how I had missed them. Ben and I also caught up with marathon veteran Paul and a couple of his mates as they had also been out here running. (congratulations to all of them on their times!)

The following day we had some time to explore Paris as our Eurostar didn't leave until late in the evening. We decided a nice leisurely boat ride along
I aint saying she's a gold digger!!!!I aint saying she's a gold digger!!!!I aint saying she's a gold digger!!!!

Caroline was loving the bling...innit.
the city would be a nice way to see the city AND it wouldn't involve too much walking. Unfortunately we struggled to find where the boat actually was and so covered a fair old distance on foot anyway!! We also headed slightly out of the city centre to see the grave of former Doors front man Jim Morrison. (It was Rich's idea...I guess being a former funeral director old habits die hard!)

I often wondered how the challenge would end and perhaps it was in the most appropriate of ways. My dad loved a good curry and he also loved a laugh. Well our last meal in Paris would have provided him with at least one of those.

We should have known it was going to be bad when the waiter out down a plate of yellow stodge. None of us could actually identify it as being a curry we ordered, so we asked what it was. Apparently it was the Bombay Potato we had ordered. It just went from bad to worse. The naan bread was very heavy bread, the likes of what a child might make in the school cookery classes. On the plus side at
Notre Dame!Notre Dame!Notre Dame!

All we needed now was a hunchback....I know you're all expecting a photo of Ben to come up next, well I couldn't do it to the lad.
least the assorted dips would give it a nice tasty twist right? Wrong. The mint sauce was the same as the mint sauce you'd have on your roast lamb. At least I couldn't fault the mango chutney. Mainly because there wasn't any, in it's place was believe it or not strawberry jam. (I don't expect you to believe me because Ben was sat at the table and even he didn't until he'd tried some!) Needless to say our mains were every bit as bad. The only real plus side was that it was hugely entertaining, especially for poor Nat and Caroline. They just couldn't stop laughing. They pretty much just laughed in the waiters face when looking at their barely touched plates he asked if they wanted the rest of the meal to takeaway!

www.justgiving.com/3marathonchallenge we have now reached the princely sum of £2417.20. A massive well done to all of you. You should feel very proud of yourselves. Thanks to your generosity, the British Lung Foundation can continue their research into lung diseases and providing vital support to those suffering. The justgiving site will remain open for a little while yet so if you still haven't donated or
There would be no more sharing double beds....There would be no more sharing double beds....There would be no more sharing double beds....

Rich and Ben were not taking the news too well.
know somebody that said they would but haven't then please, do it now and lets see if we can hit that £2500 mark.

Additional photos below
Photos: 13, Displayed: 13


Caroline, Tone, Nat and Rich enjoying a boat ride along the Seine.Caroline, Tone, Nat and Rich enjoying a boat ride along the Seine.
Caroline, Tone, Nat and Rich enjoying a boat ride along the Seine.

Well three of them were anyway, Tone was busy pretending to be Obi Wan Kenobi.
No wonder we are laughing....No wonder we are laughing....
No wonder we are laughing....

Months without a pint and then Paul, Ben and I end up having our first knees up in a city that charges 14 Euros for a pint of beer!!
Usually you have to fake a smile for a photo....Usually you have to fake a smile for a photo....
Usually you have to fake a smile for a photo....

with this one, we were just trying to keep the laughs under control! Look at the lovely tasty rice....yum scrum pigs bum.

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